Something Old, Something New, Something... Putting Your Best Website Forward

Spring will soon be here and I’m looking forward to snow melting and flowers blooming. It’s a good time to appraise your web presence and spruce it up. If you do, I have a suggestion: don’t use Adobe Flash. First, it means millions of people using iPhones, iPads, or iPods can’t view your site.

Even if you’re not an Apple fan, I hope you are a fan of having the maximum number of people view your work. Second, the latest version of Flash, especially on the Mac OS, pops up a box over what you’re trying to show that reads, “Website XYZ is requesting permission to store information on your computer.” I don’t want anybody storing information on my computer but me. Visitors to your site can click a button that says “Deny” but it takes more than one click and the pop-up often pops up again, so just when you think people are looking at your photographs they’re looking at a box covering them up. This is only a suggestion—ultimately it’s your website—but think about it.
Steven Friedman is a Canadian photographer who considers himself a purist and along with his wife Joni sometimes hikes 12 miles to inaccessible areas to capture the unforgettable landscape images he produces. Friedman is a fan of the panoramic format and six of the 13 galleries in his Portfolio contain them. You won’t see more strikingly beautiful nature and landscape images than those in the New Images Panoramic 2012 Fall gallery. These photographs are full of delicate detail, radiant color, and are impeccably composed. Take a look at “Forest Sunset” and hover your mouse over Image Info to see titles and other information about this spectacular nature photograph of an aspen forest.

His Tasmania Spring 2012 gallery embraces a different aesthetic, capturing images of rocky seacoasts using similar techniques but with different and equally impressive results. While Friedman may be a purist (never crops an image, he claims) the manipulated images in The Abstract Landscape take the genre in a direction that interior designers would love. He concentrates on colors and shapes with details tossed aside. This is in contrast to the traditional images that are found in Water Landscapes and make lakes and streams the heart of the photographs. Yet images, such as “Pfeiffer Beach,” while realistic in approach, produce an overall abstract effect that will stop you in your tracks. You may have seen a few landscape images similar to Steven Friedman’s but his vision and creativity will take you places you’ve never been.

© Steven Friedman
James Bourret is an Idaho-based fine art photographer who used PhotoShelter ( to construct a site called “Mountain Images Gallery” that hits you over the head with a splash page featuring the extraordinary nature and landscape images he’s created. His extensive catalog of work is collected in 25 galleries with titles that are location or concept based. The soft color of his elegantly incongruous images of roses frozen in ice in the Floral gallery contrast nicely with the monochrome macro photographs of fractured ice found in the Winter’s Veil gallery.

All of the images are displayed in a large enough size so you can appreciate the vision and craft that went into constructing them, with Next and Prev arrows allowing you to navigate through the gallery. Bourret bounces back and forth between monochrome and color images, letting the subject matter determine the format but never straying from what seems like an overriding passion for nature and the environment. His approach is almost diametrically opposed to typical nature and landscape photography and speaks volumes about the kind of photographer Bourret is. In all of the images in all these many galleries, James Bourret visually tiptoes through the landscape, leaving nothing and taking nothing but memories in the form of these monumental photographs.

© James Bourret, Mountain Images Gallery
In addition to the six galleries of fine art photography, Robb Siverson’ssite provides a link to his commercial photography services. In the fine art section you’ll see unexpected things including a gallery called When You Can’t Stop Thinking About Nothing where Siverson’s subjects are placed in obscure, sometimes uncomfortable situations before he applies a “unique chemical process” to the finished print. And it’s not always the same effect, so different looks are applied to images with titles such as “I Change My Mind So Much I Can’t Even Trust It” that could otherwise been seen as a classic monochrome portrait, while others, such as the female silhouette in “Been A Long Time Since You’ve Been Around” is a thoughtful exploration of both the subject and the viewer’s psyche.

Northern Plains is a series of archivally processed, selenium toned, gelatin/silver prints that varies from the nostalgic “Cleveland Grocery” to the Fargo-like “Lone Tree in Fog,” showing the vast nothingness that pervades the plains during winter. His wistful images of Scotland are a wild card, but worth a visit as Siverson applies his vision to a different part of the world and includes photographs made in color as well as black and white. In Bromide Stained Landscapes, Siverson applies a staining to the prints, giving what he says is a “painterly quality to the image” but what I feel produces an effect that’s totally photographic. Sometimes, as in “Paper Birch,” the effect is subtle, producing a, dare I say it, Pictorialist effect while he makes a bolder statement with another photograph of trees—“Craters of the Moon”—where the technique dominates the image. In all of his darkroom machinations, Robb Siverson is clearly an old-school photographer and darkroom virtuoso whose images take me back to a simpler pixel-free time.

© Robb Siverson Photography
The Shutterbug reader’s website this month is from Charleston, West Virginia’s Andrew Yianne, who spent 48 hours designing it. What makes this site special is not the relative quality of Yianne’s work but the fact that he’s 14 years old and the official sport/event photographer for his high school. The WordPress-based site uses a theme from Elegant Themes ( that nicely showcases Yianne’s work in six portfolios, although Sports has six subcollections featuring specific activities such as basketball and track. The images in Architecture may be few but show a talent for composition and design. His Landscape photographs not only show visual aptitude, especially when you realize that “Almost Heaven, West Virginia” is not just a song lyric but representative of one of the most beautiful states in the country.

Yianne excels not only in traditional landscapes but also in his nighttime urban images, which sizzle with life. By contrast, the quiet images in Nature reflect maturity beyond his years and make you want to see more of this gifted young person’s work. And you can in Assignments, featuring images such as family portraits, musical performances, and yes, even a wedding. The quality of these photographs is unexpectedly good but when you realize the shooter is just 14, it’s more impressive. Andrew Yianne is just getting started and I wish him all the best for the future.

© Andrew Yianne